With 2020 being, well, 2020, we saw grassroots and amateur sport stripped back to their absolute limit. Whilst the knock-on effects of this cessation will be significant across the board, it has impacted different people in different ways. Kids missing everything from school sports day to netball club to having a kick about in the park. Adults missing their alone time at the gym or their social time at their Sunday league. As for the long-term impacts, only time will tell. In 2019, I had signed up to a 100km trail run scheduled for July 2020, so for me, the impact was the loss of my target event and with it my training structure and motivation. A strange time, treading water, along with all those others who saw their social life through sport, competitions, matches and races put on hold indefinitely.

But with the hard graft of the lockdown and the miracle of a vaccine, 2021 is looking brighter. Schools will be back soon and with that, I hope a return to social, grassroots and amateur sport, where a kickabout with your mates is the standard for a sunny Saturday afternoon, where sports day becomes the biggest event of the summer term (was that just me?!), where races, events and adventures are back in our lives…. And for me, that includes the July 2021 edition of Race to the Stones – my 100km race.

As with most people (whether they know / admit it or not), I am much better with structure and so, from the turn of the new year, I eagerly jumped back on the structured training band wagon. Not a ‘new year, new me’ approach I hasten to add, but a considered, structured programme of weekly mileage and cross training* sketched out to allow me to build gradually, from my existing baseline over the interim months, to July 2021 and running my 100km.

*Not the Reebok branded, acronym driven, medicine ball wielding, 1,000 reps don’t worry about form type, but supplementary training – cycling, strength and conditioning, yoga etc.

Whilst you might think the main aim of this programme is reaching 100km, and to the most part it is, I would nuance that to say main aim of this programme is actually reaching 100km injury free, with my body strong enough to recover well in preparation for my next big adventure.

I’m now 7 weeks into my training with a 15 miler to end the week. I’m running twice a week and using a bike and elliptical to boost my cardiovascular endurance for an additional three sessions. Next week is a recovery week and I cannot wait… but so far, I’m feeling good.

Check back in for monthly progress updates, to read my musings about events and goal setting and outdoor fitness, and if nothing else, to hold me accountable. I look forward to having you along for the ride.

Jo x